Kopernik Space Center
The Kopernik Space Education Center is an observatory in Vestal, New York. In addition to operating a scientific observatory, the facility also provides outreach programs for community children, educating them about astronomy and science.
Following the 500th anniversary of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (called Mikolaj Kopernik in Polish) in 1973, the Space Center was built by the Kopernik Society of Broome County and opened to the public in June 1974.
The observatory has three telescopes, a 6" Astrophysics Refractor, 14" Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain, and a 20" Ritchey-Chretien telescope. The observatory has a pool of students called the Kopernik Talent Search that take classes on Friday nights and Saturdays. During the week local schools have field trips, where students can safely observe the sun and see planets in the daytime. Kopernik also has a large summer program that includes one and two week residential institutes for middle school and high school students.
Roberson, a local museum that provided funding for Kopernik, was seriously considering cutting major funding and programs. However, the Kopernik Society of Broome County negotiated this matter with Roberson Museum and Science Center. Ownership and operation of the Kopernik Space Education Center has been transferred from Roberson Museum back to the Kopernik Society. The Space Center seeks funding from industry and governmental agencies.
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